The Average Salary of a TV Host
Growth Trends for Related Jobs
In general, TV hosts -- sometimes known as television announcers or anchors -- present news and commentary on current events. They’re often the face of a broadcast channel or news outlet, so they tend to earn more that traditional reporters or correspondents. Given the trend of consuming news through digital hand-held devices, social media, blogs and RSS feeds, the opportunities for landing a gig isn’t as favorable as it once was.
Journalism at Work
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that reporters and correspondents earned an average of $44,360 a year in 2013. Anchors and hosts, however, often garner much higher wages. In fact, they can make almost twice as much as reporters. According to a survey by the Radio Television Digital News Association, salaries for anchors and hosts averaged closer to $84,800 as of 2012.
Larger Market, Larger Payday
As hosts, anchors and correspondents gain experience, they typically advance by moving from small markets in more rural areas to large markets in metropolitan cities, reports the BLS. The move often comes with larger paychecks. In the top 25 markets, which include New York, New York; Los Angeles, California, Chicago, Illinois and Detroit, Michigan, an anchor or host can expect $152,500 a year, according to the 2012 RTNDA survey. In the top 25 to 50 markets, which include Baltimore Maryland; Nashville, Tennessee and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, salaries drop just slightly to $122,500. Those working in the top 50 to 100 markets, which include New Orleans, Louisiana; Dayton, Ohio and Spokane, Washington, salaries come in at around $81,000, while anchors or hosts working in the 100 to 150 markets, which include Reno, Nevada and Augusta, Georgia, brought home $52,000. In all other markets, salaries are closer to those of the average reporter or correspondent, coming in at around $40,000 a year.
Staff Size Improves Earnings
It isn’t uncommon for the size of the station to have some influence on pay. At a small station with fewer than 10 employees, anchors and hosts can expect to earn just $35,000 a year, according to the RTDNA survey. When employees get up to around 30, salaries jump to $47,800, while salaries were the highest at large stations with more than 50 employees, at an average of $135,000 a year.
Big Names, Big Bucks
Given time, you may make a name for yourself in the industry, which can bump pay exponentially. According to a 2013 story in Business Insider, Robin Roberts, for example, earns roughly $6 million a year for her hosting gig on “Good Morning America.” Anderson Cooper, on the other hand, makes about $10 million a year for his hosting and correspondent duties for CNN. Diane Sawyer of "ABC World News," and Brian Williams of "NBC Nightly News," earn $12 million and $13 million, respectively. Of all hosts, Jon Stewart, host of "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central, tops the list at $25 million to $30 million a year.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook – Reporters, Correspondents and Broadcast News Analysts
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013 – Reporters, Correspondents and Broadcast News Analysts
- Radio Television Digital News Association: 2012 TV and Radio News Staffing and Profitability Survey
- Business Insider: 21 Absurdly Large Paychecks of TV Personalities
- Station Index: Top 100 Television Markets
- Station Index: TV Markets 100+
Based in Minneapolis, Minn., Dana Severson has been writing marketing materials for small-to-mid-sized businesses since 2005. Prior to this, Severson worked as a manager of business development for a marketing company, developing targeted marketing campaigns for Big G, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury, among others.